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Sources: Ohio State to hire UCLA’s Kelly as OC

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Sources: Ohio State to hire UCLA’s Kelly as OC

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Thamel details Chip Kelly’s fit as Ohio State OC (0:51)

Pete Thamel breaks down Chip Kelly’s departure from UCLA and highlights Kelly’s “deep ties” with Ohio State head coach Ryan Day. (0:51)

  • Pete Thamel, ESPNFeb 9, 2024, 02:18 PM ET

UCLA coach Chip Kelly is expected to become the next offensive coordinator at Ohio State, sources told ESPN on Friday. UCLA announced that Kelly is departing the program and that a national search for a new head coach has begun.

Kelly is expected to replace Bill O’Brien, who is set to become the head coach at Boston College later in the day. Ohio State had hired O’Brien in mid-January as part of head coach Ryan Day’s move to no longer call plays and to run the program more holistically.

Ohio State will have to pay a $1.5 million buyout for Kelly, sources said.

Kelly went 35-34 during six seasons at UCLA, concluding his tenure with three consecutive winning campaigns. He becomes the fourth college head coach in this cycle to leave a head-coaching job for an assistant spot, joining Jeff Hafley (Packers), Mo Linguist (Alabama) and Kane Wommack (Alabama).

“I want to sincerely thank Chip for his service to UCLA Football and our student-athletes across the past six seasons and wish the best to him and his wife Jill moving forward,” UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond said in a statement.

Kelly has interviewed for multiple NFL coordinator jobs in the cycle, including most recently the Seattle Seahawks’ OC position. He instead turns to college, where he’ll reunite with Buckeyes coach Ryan Day, his longtime friend and former assistant coach. Kelly has a decades-long relationship with Day, as both are from New Hampshire. Kelly coached Day in college at New Hampshire, and Day worked for Kelly in the NFL with the Eagles and 49ers.

Kelly has long been regarded as a gifted playcaller, having served as a longtime offensive coordinator and innovator at New Hampshire and Oregon. As Kelly moved on to become the head coach at Oregon and then in the NFL, he remained the playcaller, and along the way his offenses shifted from breakneck tempo to a more deliberate NFL style.

He will call the offense for a strong roster that includes transfer quarterback Will Howard, tailbacks TreVeyon Henderson and Quinshon Judkins, and receiver Emeka Egbuka.

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